The Elizabeth Fry Society of Quebec works with women and gender-diverse people at three locations in Montreal, Quebec City and Gatineau.
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Quebec (SEFQ) is a community-based organization founded in 1977. Its mission is to help women who are, have been or are at risk of being in conflict with the law. It ensures that women's rights are respected and that their conditions of detention are improved.
- Accompany women in their social (re)integration process by providing a supportive environment;
- Offer specialized services that are adapted to women's familial, economic, social and cultural realities, so that they can meet their needs;
- Offer diversion measures and alternatives to incarceration;
- Defend the interests and rights of women who are in conflict with the law;
- Promote the emergence of partnerships and associate with other organizations to better assist women.
Click here to see our 2019-2024 strategic plan (fr).
History of the SEFQ
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Quebec (SEFQ) was founded in 1977. At the time, there were few community organizations helping people who are in conflict with the law. Upon their release from prison, women had no resources to turn to.
The SEFQ Board of Directors, aware of the difficulties and challenges involved in social reintegration, created the first halfway house for women. The objective was to offer them a supportive environment that would enable them to gradually reintegrate into the community. The Thérèse-Casgrain halfway house opened its doors in August 1980.
Over the years, the SEFQ has adapted to the changing needs of its clientele in order to support them as they face challenges upon their release from prison. It has created a number of programs in an effort to meet specific needs of women involved in the criminal justice system: halfway houses, in-prison activities and programs, economic crime prevention programs, legal services, regional centers, community art projects, legal advocacy, volunteer work, and more. It carefully develops its services to meet the increasingly numerous and complex needs of women and gender-diverse people.
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Quebec has been able to meet these challenges thanks to the support of individuals and partners who are committed and ready to support its mission.
Who is Elizabeth Fry?
Elizabeth Fry was born in England in 1780 into a wealthy and influential Quaker family. Loyal to Quaker tradition, she devoted much of her time to the poor and the sick. In 1813, during a visit to the women's prison at Newgate, she realized that these deprived women were in urgent need for advice and support. The young volunteer founded a school for them and offered them work so that they would have some money upon their release. In 1817, she made recommendations to a parliamentary committee of the British House of Commons to humanize the prison system.